Light and healthy peach caprese with herb dressing
The calendar on the wall says it’s fall, but here in South Florida, that’s the only indication that we’ve drifted into another season. It’s still 88 degrees, oppressively muggy and we won’t see that much anticipated dip into the 60’s until late November or December. Even some of the fruits and vegetables in my kitchen are persistently clinging to the dog days. With an abundance of fragrant basil, grape tomatoes and orange and red-flecked peaches waiting impatiently, it’s time for this last-taste-of-summer dish.
I’ll sheepishly admit that this is a salad I’ve wanted to share with you since June. Then July. And August. Now September. I have no excuses for the delay — because we’ve been eating it all summer. But don’t worry, there’s still time! Snap up those last honey-sweet peaches at the market because, trust me, you want to make this.
There’s something about the play between the sweet, juicy peaches, creamy mozzarella, crispy prosciutto and bright herb dressing that makes this salad irresistible. My nieces who visited in August, polished off a whole platter! (You remember their visit?- banana bundt cake and chocolate chip banana bread.)
This salad comes together in minutes and you can make it a few hours in advance! Bonus! If you do make this ahead of time, wait until you’re serving to drizzle on the dressing.
Incidentally, if you’re in no mood to break out the blender to make a dressing (and I completely understand) try a syrupy balsamic glaze. It’s a different flavor, but still well balanced — and maybe it’s more of a nod to fall, too.
Peach Caprese with Herb Dressing
In the summertime, when the peaches and tomatoes are ripe, I like to change up our standard Caprese. With salty prosciutto and fresh mozzarella cheese drizzled with a fresh herb sauce, this is a special side dish!
- 2 ripe peaches peeled, pitted sliced
- 1 cup grape tomatoes halved
- 1 small shallot
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese cut into 1" cubes
- 4 slices prosciutto
For herb dressing
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 1/2 cup italian parsley + additional for serving
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup red or white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil divided
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange prosciutto in a single layer. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until prosciutto is crispy. Remove from oven to cool.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing. Add the basil, parsley, garlic, red pepper flake, salt, vinegar and 1/2 cup olive oil to the bowl of a blender. Start on a low speed, gradually increasing until the herbs are incorporated into a smooth dressing. You may need to stop the blender and scrape the sides a few times, so that it gets combined evenly.
- On a medium serving platter, arrange peaches, tomatoes, shallots and mozzarella. Chop or tear shards of pancetta apart and scatter them over the peaches. Sprinkle with additional parsley.
- To serve, drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil over the peaches and 4-5 tablespoons herb dressing - or more to taste. Enjoy!
If you don't want to make an herb dressing a balsamic glaze is another good option. Look in the market for commercial brands (such as Blaze Glaze), or put 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar in a pot and set over a medium heat until the liquid becomes syrupy and reduces by half. Drizzle over the peaches.